How will I be remembered? Something for us all to ponder.
By Marilyn Mackenzie
My 50th birthday was just a few weeks ago, and I'm still reflecting on the life I've lived thus far, and the life I desire in the future. In pondering, I've been remembering some of the marvelous women who have helped shape me. Some of them were friends and relatives. Some were a part of my life for a long time. Others passed through my life rather quickly, but still had a major impact on some portion of my life.
I've written about some of these women already. I've written about my Mother a number of times, and about my Grandma (see Grandma’s Was a Simple Faith) and even about the lady who lived next door to me when I was just a child (Pray Without Ceasing), Mrs. Lesco.
My Sunday school teacher, when I was only 7 years old, was truly an influence in my life. It was her teaching that made me love studying the Bible. She used only the Bible in our classes, and the other kids thought the classes were boring. Not me! I loved hearing her read God’s word, teaching us. And I loved that she made us practice reading God’s word aloud. That’s something I've been able to share in my own church experiences ever since. Many times, I've been called upon in my own church to be the liturgist, to read the Bible for the congregation. I've been gifted with a clear voice and the ability to read well, but reading His word is such an honor and a privilege.
That same Sunday school teacher was our leader in children’s church. It was because of her that I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior at the young age of 7. It’s no wonder that she is one I remember so well and so fondly as one touched my life in a grand way.
My friends’ moms were all influential to me in some way. Mrs. Pfeiffer taught me to make the best fudge in the world. Mrs. Rice taught me that my behavior toward her girls, my best friends, was not always proper. (Hey...I went through a stage where if I didn't get my way I'd pretend to go home. Actually, I'd sit on the cellar steps for a while, then make my way back to their basement playroom. They joyously welcomed me and I got my way. Mrs. Rice discovered me on the steps one day, and told me I wasn't being very nice.) My ex-husband’s aunt taught me to make a flaky pie crust. She was the first to suggest putting vinegar in the recipe. It worked!
Others have left footprints on my heart and soul as well. One was store manager when I was customer service manager in a department store in one of the fanciest malls in Houston. Marcia Jones was her name. I've tried many times to find her to let her know what a positive influence she had on my life. Mrs. Jones was just a tiny woman. She stood probably no taller than 5 foot and weighed hardly anything. She wore a size one, and she was thrilled when a new shipment of dresses - especially silk ones - arrived. She'd rush to the shipping dock to see if there were any size one dresses. Often times there were not. When there were, she purchased whatever size ones came in. Fortunately, most of our customers were not that small, and they didn't miss having them on the store racks.
Marcia was small, but she was mighty. She was also loved and respected by all in the store – from the 82 year old janitor to the 16 year old sales associates. She taught me many things about managing people.
Marcia expected the work to get done, but she allowed and encouraged her employees to have fun while performing. Her employees knew that she'd never ask them to do something she couldn't or wouldn't do herself. If there were many customers on the floor, we could expect to find her helping customers. If a mess was spilled and the janitor was off running errands, Mrs. Jones knew how to mop a floor. During inventory, she didn't walk the floors just supervising. She assisted counting the most difficult items – socks, gloves, jewelry.
Mrs. Jones allowed her managers to pick their schedules, resulting in happy managers with very few unscheduled leaves. She encouraged her managers to approach scheduling the same way with sales associates. Allowing them to help with schedules made for happier sales associates.
Marcia Jones was always good for a hug in times of trial; a smile of encouragement was always on her lips. What a fine example she set for me for my future management experiences.
In recent years, Helen Murray has taught me many things about Jesus and faith. Helen is a woman near 80 years of age. What a prayer warrior she is!
Our church gives calendars with a church member’s name on each day of the year. Each member of the congregation prays for the individual listed on the day specified. Imagine knowing that 350 people or more are praying for you on one day!
Mrs. Murray goes one step further, though. She also writes a note of love and encouragement to each person for whom she prays. Children, teens, young-marrieds, middle aged folks, and senior citizens all know and love Helen. Her notes of encouragement always seem to come at times most needed. We figure she has a direct line to God.
As if this weren't enough, another church member shared a secret about Helen Murray. Like me, Helen loves to awaken early and to watch the sun come up. She loves listening to the birds and watching the squirrels in her yard. While doing so, she reads her Bible, just as I do. And she prays. But what’s different about Helen from the rest of us is that since the day she married, Helen has been writing her prayers to God in journals.
Each prayer from her morning discussions with God has been written down, for over 50 years. Her garage and attic have boxes of filled prayer journals in them. Leafing through them, one can discover what was happening in her own life, in the life of her children and grandchildren. One can determine what was happening in her neighborhood, and in the world, from Helen’s prayer journals. When Mrs. Murray dies, her family will indeed be rich. She may not have money to leave them, but she has a history of prayer to leave them. That’s quite a legacy.
As I pondered and reflected about the women who have touched my life, I wondered as well if I will be remembered in some special way by anyone. What legacy will I leave to my family? Perhaps it will be a collection of stories and poems, showing how God worked in my life.